Is Eating One Meal a Day a Safe and Effective Way to Lose Weight?


Eating one meal a day is a habit that many swear by to lose weight and improve overall health. The one-time diet is also known as OMAD.

Although meal content and timing will vary based on personal preference, people who follow the OMAD diet usually limit their calorie intake to one meal or a short period of time.

The potential health benefits of OMAD are primarily related to fasting, restricting the amount of calories consumed over a period of time, and completely restricting calories.

How it works?

There are many types of intermittent fasting and many ways to perform a baptismal fast.

Examples include eating only one meal and fasting for the rest of the day, or eating one meal while fasting and eating a limited amount of food.

This type of diet leads to a calorie deficit, which can lead to weight loss.

Other health benefits associated with fasting include the ability to reduce risk factors for heart disease, lower blood sugar levels, and reduce inflammation (1Trusted Source).

However, compared to other fasting regimens, such as the 16/8 method, which includes 8-hour eating windows and 16-hour fasting, eating only one meal per day is one of the more extreme approaches to intermittent fasting.

Some popular diets encourage eating one meal a day. For example, when following the Warrior diet, a person eats one meal per day, alternating between long periods of fasting and short periods of energy expenditure.

Most people who follow OMAD choose only dinner, while others choose breakfast or lunch as their meals. Some variations in this eating pattern allow for one or two snacks in addition to one.

However, some OMAD enthusiasts do not consume any calories while fasting and only consume calories during their meal of choice, which usually takes about an hour.

Weight loss

To lose weight, you need to create a lack of energy.

You can do this by increasing the number of calories you burn or decreasing the amount of calories you eat. Restricting calories, no matter how you achieve it, will result in fat loss.

People who use the OMAD method are more likely to lose weight because they consume fewer calories than usual on a regular diet.

For example, one study in healthy adults found that restricting calories for 4 hours in the evening resulted in greater body fat loss than eating three separate meals during the day (2).

Research has also shown that prolonged fasting, such as intermittent fasting, including OMAD, is more likely to lead to weight loss.

However, they do not appear to be more effective than traditional calorie restriction methods, such as cutting calories at each meal (3Trusted Source).

An analysis of 50,660 people found that those who ate one or two meals a day had an annual decrease in body mass index (BMI) compared to those who ate three meals a day.

The study also found that overnight fasting for 18 hours or more was associated with lower body weight compared to shorter fasting periods (4).

However, these weight loss benefits are related to intermittent fasting, not just OMAD in general.

Additionally, extreme fasting methods like OMAD can have side effects that people should consider, such as increased appetite and problematic metabolic changes (5).


In addition to weight loss, research has linked it to a number of other health benefits. For example, fasting can help lower blood sugar and some risk factors for heart disease, including bad LDL cholesterol (6, 7).

Fasting is also associated with lower inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein (6).

Additionally, fasting may have unique benefits for nervous system health. According to animal studies (8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source ), it may slow neurodegeneration and promote longevity.

However, while these potential benefits are promising, it is important to note that these benefits apply to fasting in general and not to OMAD specifically.

In fact, some research indicates that the OMAD pattern may be more harmful to health than other, less restrictive fasting methods (2Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).

Negat Mac

Although research links fasting and calorie restriction with a number of health benefits, some evidence suggests that additional restriction, which may include eating only one meal a day, may do more harm than good.

For example, studies show that this severe restriction can lead to higher levels of total cholesterol, “bad” LDL cholesterol, and higher blood pressure than regular diet or less extreme fasting methods (2).

Other studies have shown that eating once a day can cause blood sugar levels to rise faster, delaying the body’s response to insulin and appetite-stimulating hormones, than eating 3 times a day. There may be an increase in ghrelin levels. .

This can lead to excessive hunger (10Trusted Source).

Additionally, restricting calories to one meal per day can increase the chances of developing hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, especially in people with type 2 diabetes (11).

In addition to these potentially harmful effects, eating just one meal a day can cause symptoms that include (12):

  • nausea
  • Dizziness
  • irritability
  • low energy
  • Constipation

The OMAD diet is not appropriate for many groups of people, including pregnant or breastfeeding women, children, teens, the elderly, and people with eating disorders.

Eating one meal a day can also worsen eating habits, affect a person’s social life, and make it very difficult for most people to stick to them.

Also, it can be very difficult to get enough nutrients in one meal. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies, which can negatively affect your health and pose serious risks.

Finally, some people on the OMAD diet will eat highly processed, high-calorie foods such as fast food, pizza, cake, and ice cream in one meal.

While these foods can fit into a balanced lifestyle, eating foods rich in added sugar and especially other unhealthy ingredients will have a negative impact on your health in the long run.

In general, although fasting and calorie restriction have benefits, research has shown that eating two or three meals a day may be a better option for overall health than eating one meal a day (5).

Foods to eat and avoid

No matter what type of diet you choose, your intake should consist primarily of foods rich in nutrients.

Although most health professionals do not recommend eating just one meal a day, you need to make sure you are eating a variety of nutritious foods if you choose to follow this diet, including:

  • Fruits like berries, citrus fruits and bananas
  • Vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, and black pepper
  • Starchy vegetables and grains such as sweet potatoes, pumpkin, oats, quinoa, and barley.
  • Healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, and unsweetened coconut
  • Legumes such as peas, chickpeas, lentils and black beans
  • Seeds, nuts, and nuts such as cashews, macadamia nuts, almonds, and pumpkin seeds.

Dairy products, plant-based alternatives, unsweetened yogurt, coconut milk, and cashew milk

Protein sources such as chicken, fish, tofu, and eggs

Limit processed foods such as:

  • Fast food
  • sweet pastries
  • White bread
  • sweet grains
  • Non-alcoholic drinks
  • Chips

These foods have little nutritional value, and eating a lot of them can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of disease (13).

The OMAD diet requires people to cut calories while fasting.

On a strict OMAD diet, this means total calorie restriction. You can still enjoy water and other zero-calorie drinks while fasting.

Others prefer eating low-calorie, high-protein snacks throughout the day, such as:

  • Egg whites
  • chicken
  • tuna

Again, most health professionals do not recommend eating only one meal per day, as this can harm your overall health.

If you are considering trying this diet method, consult a trusted healthcare practitioner for advice before beginning.

List of examples

Eating just one meal a day is not likely to provide you with calories and nutrients unless your body is well planned. Eating for longer can help you increase the amount of nutrients you eat.

If you choose to try to eat one meal a day, you probably won’t be doing it 7 days a week.

Most people follow the OMAD pattern a few days a week, and follow a regular diet or a less restrictive intermittent fasting diet such as the 16/8 method.

If you only eat once a day, try to make the meal as nutritious as possible. These meals should contain at least 1,200 calories, which may be difficult for some people to eat at regular meals.

If you find it difficult to eat enough calories in one meal, consider extending the length of your meals by an hour or two and splitting your meals into two smaller meals. This can help you get enough nutrients and calories without feeling full.

Here are some ideas for healthy diets that are likely to exceed 1,200 calories as long as the portions are large enough:

Grilled chicken with buttery mashed potatoes and roasted broccoli olive oil, followed by Greek yogurt with berries, nuts, seeds and honey.

Grilled salmon with guacamole, brown rice, black bean salad and grilled banana, followed by fruit served with nut butter, hemp seeds, and coconut flakes.

Omelet with goat cheese, avocado, roasted vegetables in coconut oil and crunchy baked potato wedges, followed by fruits dipped in dark chocolate and whipped cream.

As you can see, every meal should include all food groups and should include:

  • carbohydrates
  • Fat
  • Protein

Eating 1,200 calories per day is considered the normal minimum. Most adults need more to maintain weight.

Keep in mind that this way of eating is more difficult for people on certain diets, such as vegetarian or low-fat diets, because the number of calories can fit into one meal.

In general, you don’t have to cram all the calories into one meal, no matter what your health goals are. This diet is not sustainable or practical for most people.


Eating one meal a day may be a popular way to lose weight, but it probably isn’t a good idea for your overall health.

While fasting in general, including prolonged fasting, can be beneficial to health in many ways, people can obtain similar health benefits using more sustainable methods.

More sustainable diets include 16/8 intermittent fasting or simply a healthy, low-calorie diet if you’re overeating and want to promote weight loss.

Most healthcare providers advise against following the OMAD diet due to its extreme nature.

More sustainable ways in which people can contribute to better public health.

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